If you had said to me a few years ago that I would be make a speech at a gala dinner in front of 150 people with no preparation, I’d have said I’d never be able to do that. If you’d told me the speech would be coherent, well received and described as impactful and inspiring, I’d have told you that you definitely had the wrong person.
Yet I did this at an event a few weeks ago. I now often get complimented on my public speaking, especially the fact that I rarely speak with notes. Anyone who thinks this comes naturally to me is mistaken.
There are quite a few people out there who remember how utterly terrified I used to look when public speaking. When I did my inauguration speech as local president in 2011 I hardly ate the dinner (which is a shame as we were in the House of Lords) and stood behind the lectern with my notes in front of me shaking with nerves. But that year I made a choice. I decided that I would make my outgoing speech without my notes as my comfort blanket. I was still terrified, but more than that I was determined that I, as local president, would set an example for my members and push myself to be better.
A little nervous…my inauguration as local president in 2011
When faced with this kind of choice, I’d say 90% of the population would not make that choice. But 90% of the population are not JCI members.
Whatever it is you currently can’t imagine yourself doing, choose to do it this year. It is people who choose to do something difficult, challenging and way outside their comfort zone that will have extraordinary lives. Of course if a nice ordinary life spend in front of the TV is what you’re after that’s fine, but there again, you’re probably not the kind of person to be reading this blog. Public speaking still makes me nervous, but it also makes me feel proud and exhilarated…because I know what an amazing achievement it is for me to have come as far as I have.
What a difference a year makes…no lecturn or notes in sight during my outgoing speech in 2012!
I’d love to hear about what choosing extraordinary means to you. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will feature stories on this blog.
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Sarah Beckwith